A study tested the difference between men and women’s perceptions of their own achievements. Each gender group took a test and then received their results. The results were rigged, as was the ease of the test: one set of tests was very difficult, and scores were reported low, regardless of performance. The second set of tests was extremely easy and results were falsely reported high.
Then the men and women were asked, “To what do you attribute your performance?” The results were astounding.
For the difficult test, men credited their performance to external fac- tors: the test was faulty, instructions inadequate, not enough time given for the task. Women credited their poor performance on internal fac- tors: “I’ve never been good at this kind of thing,” “I was confused,” “I didn’t understand the instructions well enough, and should have asked,” “I was tired.”
When asked about their good performance, men tended to credit their success first to internal factors: “I’ve always been good at tests,” “I like challenges.” While women credited their success to external factors, giving their success to others: “You explained it well,” “The instructions were so clear,” “The test was easy,” “Anyone could have done this.”
This brings us back to crowing, and finding our true voice. If we’ve been trained to credit our success externally and debit our failures to ourselves, we’re indeed in a bind.
It is important to come to an authentic assessment of our talents and strengths, speaking from our center. When not owning our accomplishments, our voice can feel as if it is hiding behind us, coming from in back. When bragging, it is in front, ahead of us—and can trip us up.
Find your center. Drop down into the belly and speak from your gut.